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Nihon Geka Gakkai Zasshi. 2000 Dec;101(12):833-9.

[History of breast cancer surgery and its perspectives].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Surgery, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara, Japan.


At the end of the 19th century, surgical treatment of breast cancer was revolutionized by the introduction of the Halsted radical mastectomy. Haagensen, who studied under one of Halsted's students, further strengthened the foundations of the technique, and the Halsted operation became the standard radical breast cancer surgery worldwide. This may have been responsible for the persistence of this operation, particularly in Japan. Some Halstedian surgeons espoused the extended radical mastectomy or super-radical mastectomy. However, breast-conserving surgery is now becoming the most common technique. In the early 1970s breakthroughs in the understanding of the biology of breast cancer led to a new era of adjuvant therapy. Consequently current surgical management of breast cancer is no longer possible without considering other therapeutic modalities. Consistent with this change, it should be realized that the disease is no longer diagnosed at the same stage as it was at the time of Halsted. Although the ultimate patient outcome is not likely to be influenced solely by locoregional treatment, surgery will continue to be employed as the most effective treatment modality, and every effort should be made to prevent locoregional tumor spread.

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